National Archives and Records Administration
Producer National Archives and Records AdministrationLanguage English
ARC Identifier 2569728 / Local Identifier 111-TV-471
Big Picture: Top Soldier
DVD Copied by Timothy Vollmer. Since the creation of the National Security Act in 1947, which might be considered to coincide with the beginning of the modern Army, four men have held down the role of "top soldier"--the awesomely demanding job of Army Chief of Staff. In this episode of THE BIG PICTURE, the camera's attention is focused on the lives of these four generals and their contributions to the Army. The first of these four generals is General J. Lawton Collins who picked up the nickname "Lightning Joe" when he commanded the 25th Infantry Division in Guadalcanal in 1943. General Collins was succeeded in the Office of Chief of Staff by a West Point classmate--Class of 1917--General Matthew B. Ridgway. Ridgway's outfit during World War II was the 82nd Airborne Division. General Ridgway's successor was another officer who, like him, had emerged from World War II as a spectacular commander of airborne troops--General Maxwell D. Taylor. After General Taylor, came the man who occupies the office of "Top Soldier," General Lyman L. Lemnitzer. On film, "Top Soldier" becomes an excitingly-made and excellently written documentary about Army leadership.